Page 4


Goin’ to Kansas City Austin, Nov. 27 The Texas delegation to the Democratic national conference in Kansas City Dec. 6-8 did not meet beforehand in Texas. Except for perfunctory mailings to the delegates from the state party office, the Texas delegates 76 elected by the state convention and some elected officials were to arrive in Kansas City knowing only whatever they may have picked up willy-nilly. Yet the charter issues are complicated, and their resolution was to take place in a complex context of agreements and concords reached and breached over a period of 18 months. Probably the reason Governor Dolph Briscoe and his state party chairman, Calvin Guest, did not call the delegation together for studying and planning in Texas was their fear of an embarrassment to Briscoe over the unimportant, but obvious question of who would be the delegation’s chairperson. With reform-type delegates numbering a reported 20 or 30 of the 76 delegates chosen by the state convention, it was clear that Briscoe would get an easy majority for chairman, but it was also clear, and Guest was so told, that some of the reformers wanted to elect their own chairperson or spokesperson. Newspaper stories, either inspired or in error, stated incorrectly that the delegation had met right after the state convention and elected Briscoe. As one of the delegates \(thus involved in the events I am so, and so, of course, did others. Guest stated to delegates in Houston, during a hearing on the Texas challenge to the at-large delegates, that he would call a meeting of the delegation in Texas soon. But he did not. Along in mid-November delegates began getting telephone calls from functionaries in the state party office informing them that because of the holidays and the expense of having a meeting in Texas, the delegation would not meet. \(I asked Nancy Gregg of the state office who had made this decision, and she replied, “I don’t still had not even scheduled a meeting of the delegation in Kansas City in advance of the conference, although presumably they would. According to the Democratic Planning Group newsletter, which has been coming out monthly for a good while, Briscoe does not even ravor the Democratic Party’s having a charter, and if this is correct, it would clarify the recited events. THE TEXAS reformers’ challenge to the at-large delegates selected by the state convention provides another context in which the situation of the Texas Observations delegation at Kansas City has to be perceived. The two challenges, one led by Billie Carr on behalf of the Open Party-Progressive caucus and one by Joe Bernal and Leonel Castillo on behalf of the Mexican-American caucus at the state convention, alleged substantially the same things: that the state party’s affirmative action program to bring minorities, women, and the young into the party was a sham; that the at-large delegates did not correct the underrepresentation of minorities on the delegation; and that Guest deprived delegates at the state convention of their rights by illegally adjourning the convention on the minority reports on nominations and resolutions. The fact-finding panel of the national party’s Compliance Review Commission, in a lengthy written ruling, in substance held that the state party’s affirmative action program was quite adequate, but that delegates’ rights at the state convention had indeed been denied, although unintentionally. For its remedy, the panel simply urged the state party to replace absent delegates with alternates who are members of the ethnic minorities. Guest issued a statement welcoming this ruling, as well he should have, for it left /the matter entirely in the hands of the Briscoe group and was a rejection of the challenges. The Bernal-Castillo group decided not to appeal to the whole Compliance Review Commission in Washington in mid-November, but the indefatigable Carr, although expecting to get nothing, testified vigorously against the fact-finding panel’s conclusions. She emphasized that under the ‘ruling, “the violators” were given the job of correcting the consequences of the admitted Violations. The commission had been knocking challenges’ in the head all day, but Carr got their attention. They conferred in private 40 minutes. Then they talked on long-distance phone with Texas party officials for a long time. National Chairman Robert Strauss, who could have been , expected to side with the Guest-Briscoe position, was absent, and the commission voted \(Carr reported that the two-to-one majority on a committee that was to replace absent delegates \(except for manner that would help correct the underrepresentation of minorities. The catch was, this committee \(made up in equal parts of representatives of the Carr challenge, the Bernal-Castillo replace absent delegates if it knew they are absent, could it not? Once the conference started, the committee was dissolved, and absences were to be taken care of in the usual way. Thus the challengers were trying to find a way to verify absences in advance of the opening of the conference. A meeting of the delegation obviously could be used to advance this purpose. One delegate has died, but Guest \(alleging that the national decision only codified the fact-finders’ conclusion, when in fact it and reports that two other delegates were to be absent became, as it were, shrouded. As of ten days before the national conference opened, the desire of some , of the delegates that the issues of the day be considered, as well as the charter, had been checkmated. One effort to make the conference issues oriented was a resolution offered to the Democratic National Committee in Washington, D.C., December 13, 1974 11 You’ll be glad you came to the “beach, HOTEL 45 luxurious, air conditioned hotel rooms, each with private balcony . . . Large swimming pool, lounge area, fine dining, . bar, entertainment . . . 5 minutes from airport, shopping, sightseeing, golf, horseback riding, white sand beach and Caribbean directly in front of hotel .. . Open year ’round . .. For rates and brochure see your Travel Agent or write P.O. Box 469 MONTEGO BAY GA